In 1642, Antonie van Diemen, the governor of the Dutch territories in Asia, organized an ambitious expedition. The expedition, headed by Abel Tasman, an experienced Dutch sailor, had to explore the Indian Ocean and find the legendary Terra Australis in it. On the 13th of December, Tasman wrote in the logbook that the expedition discovered land. Now, when the white spots on the globe are painted with the green color of forests and the ochre of deserts and, most important, stained with the blood of both the discoverers and the aborigines, we know that the Dutch saw the Southern Alps of the South Island of New Zealand. The travelers did not stay there long: the local inhabitants, the maori, gave them a hostile reception. So hostile that Tasman called the bay where anchored his ship “Murderers’ Bay.” But if New Zealanders themselves still call their country “the nape of the earth,” what hospitality can one expect from a nape?
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